30 September 2009

5 Ways to Create Wealth In Your Back Yard

1. Icelandic Sheep
The triple-purpose Icelandic sheep is a livestock dynamo—capable of providing meat, milk and wool. Joanne Dunlap, who raises Icelandic sheep in Northern Maine and serves as secretary for the Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America, keeps a small flock (8-10 during winter months) says a good sheep will give her 2.5 lbs of wool every year. "I have so much wool I don't know what to do with it," she says. The sheep may provide upwards of 33 gallons of milk a year. _PM
For less than $1,000 you can have the makings of your own small scale sheep ranch. The Scots, Kiwis, and Icelanders can't be all wrong.

2. Laying Hens
A small flock of laying hens can easily meet a family's egg requirements. Cathy Payne, a self-proclaimed "chicken lady" who tends a backyard flock of 14 hens in her backyard in Virginia, says a "primo, optimum hen lays one egg every 23 hours." She also points out that pastured chickens, those allowed to wander outdoors, produce "unbelievably flavorful eggs" that are more nutritious (higher levels of omega-3 and folic acids) than those from conventionally raised birds.

In addition to collecting eggs, Payne also harvests her birds' droppings for use as fertilizer in her garden. And because they'll eat just about anything, she also uses her flock as a sort of living garbage disposal. _PM
Are you keeping count? So far, your milk, eggs, meat, wool, and fertiliser requirements are taken care of. Let's see, what else?

3. Honey Bees
With a beehive at full capacity, the yield for a beekeeper is remarkably bounteous. Working throughout the summer, tens of thousands of honeybees in one backyard hive can produce up to 100 lbs of honey. Andrea Azarm, who keeps an apiary in her backyard in Connecticut, says, "When the bees do well, the products are absolutely wonderful." In addition to the honey crop, Azram also harvests beeswax, which can be used to make moustache wax, lip balm and candles. __PM
Honey is a great sweetener, with a lot of quick energy. Beeswax candles are nice on those long winter nights when the power is out from an EMP.

4. Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Nigerian dwarfs usually weigh about 70 lbs, stand less than 2 feet tall, and are thus easier to handle and require less space than larger goat breeds do. In spite of their diminutive stature, the Nigerian dwarf goat produces between 1-3 quarts of milk each day. Alexandra Burmeister has raised Nigerian dwarfs on a small central Texas farm for three years, and says the breed is ideal for goat-raising newcomers or those with space constraints.

The milk the goats produce is rich, sweet and high in butterfat—6-10 percent. Extra milk can be used to make goat cheese or produce natural soaps. Though small and principally used for its dairy production, the Nigerian dwarfs grow chubby, making them a viable source of meat as well. __PM
Okay, the milk, cheese, and meat sounds fine, but what if my Nigerian goats don't get along with my Icelandic sheep? Having both seems somewhat redundant.

5. River Buffalo
... the river buffalo doesn't require lush, fertile grasses to produce great quantities of rich and creamy milk with a butterfat content of 8-9 percent. __PM
Hmmm. This sounds like more than a backyard project. And since I already have enough milk from the sheep and / or goats, I'll pass on the buffalo.

I'm surprised the PM article didn't mention dwarf cattle, which are much closer to back yard size than river buffalo. Other pint-sized livestock projects might include rabbits, miniature pigs, or midget turkeys.

Remember, the more food you grow on the hoof in your own backyard, the less susceptible you will be should the transportation system break down for one reason or another.

H/T Instapundit

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Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

My Dad did the honey bee thing in a suburb in NJ. The neighbors were not exactly thrilled every time the bees swarmed. A neighbor would come out to find a massive ball of bees hanging from a tree near his house.

My Dad didn't like our neighbors much anyway. So he got a chuckle out of it every time the swarm happened.

Wednesday, 30 September, 2009  
Blogger read it said...

Seems like one would choose the livestock option most suitable to one's climate; icelandic sheep for Minnesota, Nigerian mini goats for Louisiana.

Wednesday, 30 September, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

HILN: Maybe you could put brain implants in some of the bees, and direct them to swarm over particular neighbors who are most annoying.

Silly: Very good point.
I suspect there are a lot more breeds of small livestock that might be considered for a backyard.
As you say, much depends on the climate, and also the nature of your backyard and neighborhood.

Wednesday, 30 September, 2009  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

My Tunis sheep do quite well in north Florida.

I'm surprised rabbits aren't on that list. They are a great, quickly maturing meat source.

Wednesday, 30 September, 2009  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

If I were to add cattle to the place, I would get some Dexters. They're small (36" to 42" for cows), gentle, used to produce milk and meat, and can be trained as oxen. I visited a ranch that raised them and it was an odd sensation to be standing in the middle of a herd of cattle where the mature members were only waist high!

Wednesday, 30 September, 2009  
Blogger Loren said...

Super guinea pigs were developed for South America, where they are already used extensively for livestock. They are much larger, and IIRC, actually a bit more efficient as meat animals than rabbits.

The river buffalo might need more water, but places like Wyoming don't have much, just poor quality grass.

Wednesday, 30 September, 2009  

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